The WorldTour peloton rolled out of Adelaide, Australia, this week at the Tour Down Under to start the new season. Among the 18 WorldTour squads are a number of American riders who could make their mark in 2017.
We have a look at the American up-and-comers as well as some of the seasoned professionals.
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Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo)
Peter Stetina is part of a cycling dynasty that includes both his father and uncle known names in the US. He nearly pulled the plug on his career after crashing into a pole in the high-speed finish to the País Vasco in early 2015.
In that crash, where Adam Yates fractured his finger, Stetina broke his tibia, four ribs and his kneecap. After four surgeries, he felt little improvement. A return ride on the famed Gibraltar climb last year in the Tour of California changed things.
In the first summit finish of 2017, the Tour Down Under stage to Paracombe, he showed he is again one to watch. After working for Ruben Guerreiro, he finished just 30 seconds behind stage winner Richie Porte (BMC Racing).
Tyler Farrar (Dimension Data)
The most accomplished and veteran American rider supports sprinter Mark Cavendish and spearheads Dimension Data’s classics team.
Tyler Farrar paved his way in Belgium, where he still lives in Ghent. He has won stages in all three Grand Tours, but now admits his best sprinting days are past.
“My role is fairly defined as a team now, the Classics are my number one priority every year supporting Edvald Boasson Hagen,” he said.
“I really enjoy transition into this role since I came to the team. At this point in my career I’ve been around a lot and I have a lot of experience: I’m more valuable doing that than being out there chasing for results. “
Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing)
Tejay van Garderen has been leading America’s charge in the Tour de France over the last few years with two fifth places in the general classification. For 2017, he is stepping aside for Richie Porte, and racing the Giro d’Italia for the first time.
“It was pretty clear that Richie deserves his chance,” he said. “The Giro’s a new experience, something to keep me motivated, to keep it fresh and new. I am going to be riding for the GC in the Giro, I am not going just to put a number on.”
Though he appeared to be suffering in the Tour, van Garderen is made of the right stuff. He won the Tour of Colorado twice and the Tour of California overall.
Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac)
Andrew Talansky already took on the greats and won in the 2014 Critérium du Dauphiné. Over the last few years, he has been trying to do the same in Grand Tours.
Last year, he stepped back from the Tour to give the Vuelta a España a go. A fifth place overall confirmed to the already confident Florida-raised cyclist that he should set his sights on the Tour again.
His build-up will include a peak for the Tour of California. He said, “I believe in what I am capable of and the team does as well.” His palmarès already includes 10th overall in the 2013 Tour and 11th in 2015.
Ian Boswell (Team Sky)
Ian Boswell has steadily proved himself in Britain’s super team to be a reliable right-hand man. The 2017 Tour de France appears to be the logical next step for the Oregon native.
Now in his fifth season, Boswell could ride alongside Chris Froome in early-season stage races to show his strength. Last year, the two trained alone together at a South Africa camp. He went on to support Mikel Landa and the team’s stage ambitions in the Giro, and Froome to second overall in the Vuelta.
“Ten years ago, I was a kid who fell in love with cycling,” he said. “Now, I am racing alongside a three-time Tour champion, world champion, multiple national champions and an Olympic medallist.”
Alexey Vermeulen (LottoNL-Jumbo)
Most top American cycling stars hail from California or Colorado, but Alexey Vermeulen comes from the cold flatlands in Michigan. Another native and former super domestique Frankie Andreu gives him his stamp of approval.
Vermeulen is a climber oddly enough and now, riding in his second year, works for Robert Gesink. The 22-year-old’s goal is to debut in a Grand Tour this year and eventually improve enough to ride for the classification in stage races.
“I want to do well in the nationals and in the Tour of California, and help my team-mates in the mountains,” Vermeulen said. “I hope to ride the Vuelta to end the season.”